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LG WM3677HW "FE" error while drying (condensing washer+dryer)


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6 replies to this topic

#1 jafo

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 07:17 PM

We have an LG WM3677HW (the service manual also says "WD-12270RD"), which recently started throwing the "FE" error while drying. It works fine in the wash cycle, including spin, but has problems in the dry cycle. I've gone through the troubleshooting and all the different steps you can do in there seem to work fine (fill, spin, drain, etc...). For "FE" the service manual only says "see service".

The thing I notice is that during the drying cycle it would usually open the inlet tap for a couple of seconds, now it's opening it for much longer, say 20 seconds. It still drains a little bit, but not nearly as much as it is letting in. Little by little the tub fills until eventually the clothes are just soaking in water. Shortly after, the machine displays "FE". I can run a spin cycle and it will drain and that works fine.

I thought that maybe the valve was just sticking, so I put a multimeter on it and unfortunately it's running for exactly as long as there's voltage applied to it.

So this means to me that either the controller is faulty in some way that is causing it to run the dryer fill for too long, or there's a sensor that is bad. The water level sensor seems to be ok in the troubleshooting mode, based on the frequency it's showing depending on how full it is. And it's definitely detecting when the thing is overfull.

I looked through the block diagram but didn't really see anything obvious about what sensors could be causing this. I've thought about calling in a service tech, but unless they either have experience with this specific model or access to a much better service guide than I do, I think they'll get stuck as well.

Any thoughts would be appreciated.

Thanks,
Sean

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#2 john63

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:00 PM

The "FE" error (Fill Error) is triggered by the MAIN BOARD when the WATER FREQUENCY SENSOR (aka--Water Level Sensor) is at or over a reading of 213.

This combo washer/dryer all-in-one has 3 cold water valves and a single hot water valve.

The cold water valve on the far right side---has a hose leading to the DUCT ASSEMBLY. This is a *misting* valve.

This valve injects a cold mist into the duct assy to assist converting steam back to liquid for the purposes of being drained by the drain motor.

If there's a malfunction with this valve---an "FE" error will occur.

A quick way to verify proper valve operation would be:

1) Unplug appliance

2) Remove the top cover of the washer.

3) Disconnect the water hose at the DUCT ASSY (keep this hose attached to the cold water valve)

4) Have an assistant hold the hose in a small bucket.

5) Plug in appliance.

6) Press & hold the SPIN SPEED & SOIL LEVEL buttons on the control panel. Then press the POWER button.

7) Wait for the door to *lock* (single click sound).

8) Press the START button 8 times.

9) This will activate the MISTING VALVE. Check that spray mist is entering the bucket.

10) Unplug the appliance---does the valve shut-off immediately? **If not--replace the triple valve assy 5220FR2008E**

11) If the valve shuts off immediately---pull the hose off of the WATER FREQUENCY SENSOR & blow thru it to clear.
Re-attach the hose to the WATER FREQ SENSOR & the DUCT ASSY.

12) Test washer/dryer with a load of laundry. During cycle---the WATER FREQUENCY SENSOR reading can be checked at any
time by pressing the following buttons during the cycle: SPIN SPEED & SOIL LEVEL (This will show the "frequency"
in the control panel DISPLAY).

13) If the "FE" error occurs again---replace the MAIN BOARD 6871ER1003E

NOTE: The above instructions are based on the assumption that the WATER FREQUENCY SENSOR has been properly verified as "good".

Edited by john63, 03 January 2011 - 11:01 PM.

To eliminate:

Musty odor

L-O-N-G cycle times

Dingy/yellowing whites

Suds error message

Slow spin speeds

Intermittent water leaks (from rear of washer)

And other annoying symptoms which vary brand-to brand.

Read below:

The *correct* amount of HE (High Efficiency) detergent that should be used in any front load or agitatorless top load washer with tub sizes 3.0 cu ft and larger is as follows:

HE: (2) Tablespoons Per Wash Load

HE 2X: (1) Tablespoon

HE 3X: (1) Teaspoon

Perform a TUB CLEAN CYCLE every (4) months.

Use: "Tide Washing Machine Cleaner"

#3 jafo

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:30 AM

We pulled the plastic assembly that the hose connects to at the dryer duct assembly, which I believe is what you were talking about. I have a picture of it linked below. Now, when we were running this, I wouldn't at all say it was "misting" -- more like "gushing". After around 5 seconds we probably had a quart or more of water in the bucket.

Here are some images of the mister and it "misting":

Posted Image Posted Image

Link to a bigger picture of the "mister".

So my first thought was that, whoa, it's putting in a heck of a lot of water, if it was "misting" for 20 seconds instead of "gushing", we'd probably be ok.

But, it's not obvious that anything is missing from this "mister" plastic end that would cause it to spray instead of gush.

To answer your question about whether the flow stops when the machine is turned off, yes, it seems to stop immediately. I had previously tested it by hooking up a multimeter to the valve supply, and that seems to be hot for the entire duration that water is flowing through the hose, and water stops flowing when it goes low.

I do happen to have a spare triple valve assembly that I could try -- I found a bunch of used parts on ebay a year or so ago. Unfortunately, that does not include the main control board.

I haven't tried your step 11, I'll have to give that a try. I'm not quite sure where the water frequency sensor is, I'll have to do some looking.

Thanks,
Sean

#4 john63

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 09:52 AM

<<<I do happen to have a spare triple valve assembly that I could try>>>

***********

Verify that the COLD WATER VALVE is the *correct* one.

On many LG washers--a triple valve assy is also used.

On LG combo models (washer & dryer all-in-one) the cold water valve is *different*, The *misting* valve has a special nozzle that restricts water flow to create the mist (similar to mist from a can of paint).
To eliminate:

Musty odor

L-O-N-G cycle times

Dingy/yellowing whites

Suds error message

Slow spin speeds

Intermittent water leaks (from rear of washer)

And other annoying symptoms which vary brand-to brand.

Read below:

The *correct* amount of HE (High Efficiency) detergent that should be used in any front load or agitatorless top load washer with tub sizes 3.0 cu ft and larger is as follows:

HE: (2) Tablespoons Per Wash Load

HE 2X: (1) Tablespoon

HE 3X: (1) Teaspoon

Perform a TUB CLEAN CYCLE every (4) months.

Use: "Tide Washing Machine Cleaner"

#5 jafo

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Posted 04 January 2011 - 05:20 PM

I've ordered a new triple valve assembly and also the white "pipe" in the picture above, because the output of this is definitely nothing like the mist from a can of spray paint. They say it'll be here in 4 to 5 days, so I'll check back in then.

Thanks,
Sean

#6 jafo

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 08:01 PM

The problem ended up being the "triple valve assembly" (which actually has 4 solenoid-activated valves in it). We got a replacement one of those, for around $70, and also got a replacement of the "pipe" shown in the picture ($4). The pipe was identical to the one I replaced, with no sort of spray head on it or anything.

Once I replaced the valve assembly, the water flow from the white "pipe" into the bucket went from a gush to a trickle. It's still definitely not what I'd call a "mist", but the water output has dropped from a gush to a small stream, eliminating the problem with the wash/dry basin filling with water. The dryer is now back to being able to dry clothes, after a few tests.

I was wrong in my initial problem description that the water was running longer than it used to. I was just mistaken -- the water flow from the "yellow" output of the triple valve assembly is so low that it's very difficult to hear with the top off, and impossible to hear with it on. It *IS* still running for 20 seconds, the issue is that it's putting out a small fraction of the water it was before.

The replacement involved:

(These instructions provided with no warranty, if you injure yourself or your washer during this process, you hold the sole responsibility)

  • Unplug the washer.
  • Remove the top cover.
  • Disconnect the cold water supply.
  • Take a photograph of the current connections, and/or label the connections.
  • Unscrew the two screws to either side of the cold water input.
  • Disconnect the 4 electrical blade connectors from the valve assembly. NOTE: These are 120 volt supplies.
  • Disconnect each hose in turn from the old triple valve assembly and connect it to the new triple valve assembly. I did this one hose at a time, so I didn't make any mistakes about which is hooked to which supply port.
  • Remove the old triple valve assembly.
  • Put the new triple valve assembly in place.
  • Replace the screws on either side of the triple valve assembly.
  • Re-connect the electrical blade connectors to the triple valve assembly.
  • Re-connect the cold water supply.
  • Replace the top cover.
  • Plug back in the washer.
  • Run a test load of laundry. I ran a rinse and spin, stopped it when the laundry got drenched, then restarted a spin cycle. Then ran the dry cycle.

To do the testing of the misting valve, I had removed the two screws at the back of the washer, inside it, behind the dryer fan assembly (the back right corner), so that the dryer heater assembly (labeled as "HOT", because it is when it's been run) can be moved slightly out of the way. Then the misting pipe can be twisted clockwise 90 degrees and pulled up and out of the dryer piping. There is a black gasket that also should be removed. This can then be put into the bucket and the testing done as described by john63.

To replace this pipe, put the gasket in first and make sure it has a good fit. Then put the pipe back through it, verify the gasket is still in place, and press the pipe in and twist it. It has little "wings" that fit under some shoulders in the dryer piping, and it should be held firmly in place.

If I were to do this again, I'd probably get a spare bit of rubber hose and disconnect the hose at the triple valve assembly, then connect the spare hose and put it in a bucket. I'd guess it should be putting out around a quarter of a cup of water over the 20 second run time, possibly even less. Before we did the replacement it was putting out close to a gallon during this same 20 seconds.

#7 john63

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Posted 08 January 2011 - 09:58 PM

Excellent follow-up.

Thanks.
To eliminate:

Musty odor

L-O-N-G cycle times

Dingy/yellowing whites

Suds error message

Slow spin speeds

Intermittent water leaks (from rear of washer)

And other annoying symptoms which vary brand-to brand.

Read below:

The *correct* amount of HE (High Efficiency) detergent that should be used in any front load or agitatorless top load washer with tub sizes 3.0 cu ft and larger is as follows:

HE: (2) Tablespoons Per Wash Load

HE 2X: (1) Tablespoon

HE 3X: (1) Teaspoon

Perform a TUB CLEAN CYCLE every (4) months.

Use: "Tide Washing Machine Cleaner"




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